Utah takes on SDSU, hopes to snap streak

By Bryan Chouinard, Staff Writer

The Utes have nowhere to go but up this weekend when they welcome two more conference foes to Ute Field.

Every year, no matter the sport, U athletes and coaches look ahead to face-offs with BYU. Unfortunately, the hype leading to Saturday’s game against the Cougars was only surpassed by the tremendous disappointment after the game.

The Utes quickly fell behind and were unable to make up the deficit, resulting in a 5-0 win for the Cougars, which was Utah’s worst loss this year and its first home conference loss since 2004.

“We need to find out if Saturday’s loss was the result of our opponents being on their game along with some other factors, or if we really just need to take a long look in the mirror and realize that’s the team we are,” head coach Rich Manning said.

It has been a season of ups and downs for the Utes. There have been times when it seemed nobody could get past Utah’s backline, let alone keeper Emalee Rogers. On the same note, there have been stretches when Utah has seemed almost lost or disoriented out on the pitch.

It has become a roller-coaster type season for the Utes, and it remains to be seen if Utah is the defensive team capable of shutting down anyone at any time, or a young squad still finding its way.

“We need to do a better job of getting through the rough patches in games,” Manning said. “Being able to stop the bleeding and get back to playing our game.”

Utah will attempt to do just that today when it hosts the San Diego State Aztecs.

SDSU brings a 4-6-2 record into Ute Field, coming off a 0-0 draw with Loyola Marymount. When the Utes matched up with Loyola Marymount earlier this year in Los Angeles, the result was the same8212;0-0 draw after double-overtime.

Utah has a 10-3-2 all-time record against SDSU and will look to improve that number, as well as its current win streak against the Aztecs. The Utes haven’t lost to an SDSU side since 2001, the year before Manning took over as head coach.

“I think after Saturday’s loss, it is important for us to get back on the field as soon as possible,” Manning said. “I expect our team will be hungry, committed to the game and paying attention to the details.”

It’s important for the Utes to come out strong this weekend, knowing next weekend will be a tough road trip, to say the least. After the set of home games, the Utes will travel to TCU to take on the Horned Frogs, who are currently 9-1-1. But first, Utah will have to take care of business and protect its home turf in New Mexico.

“It will be good to get back out on our home field and play two teams that are definite contenders for the conference championship,” Manning said. “This will be another good test for us, not only of our playing ability, but our mental toughness as well.”

Kickoff against SDSU is set for 7 p.m. at Ute Field. The Utes’ second game this weekend will take place Saturday at 7 p.m. when they host UNLV.

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Tyler Cobb

Katie Martinez jumps up for a header in the loss to BYU on Saturday. The team will look to get past that loss tonight as they take on SDSU at Ute Field.